NFL Fan Guide to The Cleveland Browns
This page is dedicated to the Cleveland Browns, the team’s loyal fan base, and any NFL fans looking for information on the team. Cleveland has long been the doormat of the league, but recent positive movement has the future looking bright for the Browns.
A franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield has ignited hope in Ohio, while a bold trade for superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could put the Browns over the top.
That is undoubtedly creating excitement in Cleveland, and it’s forced Vegas to respond to it when you look at the latest Browns odds. Whether you’re here to gain information to bet on the Browns or not, this page will operate as an elite source for all things Browns.
Cleveland Browns Overview and Key Information
The oldest of the two Ohio-based franchises, the Cleveland Browns played their first game in 1946 at Cleveland Stadium while in the AAFC (All-America Football Conference).
While the first ten years of the Browns were record-setting, the last few decades have been a struggle. They started with four AAFC Championships, four NFL Championships, and advancing to the league championships every season for the first ten years. But in the last 20 years, the team has had 29 starting quarterbacks and a long postseason drought with only one playoff game in 2002.
Cleveland is also one of four teams (Lions, Jaguars, and Texans) to have never made a Super Bowl appearance.
- AFC North
- Current Team Location
- Cleveland, Ohio
- FirstEnergy Stadium
- Head Coach
- Kevin Stefanski
- Jimmy Haslam
- Team Value (Forbes 2018)
- $1.8 billion (30th)
Cleveland Browns Team History
The Cleveland Browns played their first season in 1946 as a member of the now-defunct All-America Football Conference. The team took the AAFC Championship every year for four seasons straight (1949-49), but the AAFC folded at the end of 1949.
In 1950, the Browns joined the NFL along with the San Francisco 49ers and the original Baltimore Colts team. Despite the league change, the Browns’ winning streak continued with six more years of post-season play including three NFL Championships in 1950, 1954, and 1955. The franchise is the only one to have made a league championship game in each of its first ten years on the field.
In 1970, when the NFL merged with the AFL, the Browns were initially positioned in the AFC Central and won six Central division titles from 1971 through 1989.
While the ‘90s were relatively quiet, the Browns were off the field for three seasons from 1996 through 1998.
A dispute between then-owner Art Modell and the city of Cleveland was settled with Modell keeping the player and personnel contracts and heading to Baltimore to establish the Ravens. Cleveland retained the name, logos, history, and training facility and resumed play in 1999, once again, as the Cleveland Browns. But technically, they were an expansion franchise in the NFL.
The revamped Browns moved into their new FirstEnergy Stadium home, formerly called Cleveland Browns Stadium, but have struggled on the field. Since 1999, the Browns have made only one postseason appearance, losing the wild card playoffs to the Steelers in 2002.
Super Bowl Appearances and Playoff History
As mentioned, the Browns have never won a Super Bowl, let alone even reached one. Cleveland has had some close brushes with a Super Bowl run, of course, with three trips to the AFC title game in the 1980s.
This put a stamp on easily Cleveland’s greatest era in modern-day football, where stars like Bernie Kosar and Ozzie Newsome ruled the ‘80s.
Cleveland was painfully close to reaching the Super Bowl during this era, as they fell in overtime to the Denver Broncos in 1986, and Earnest Byner coughed up “The Fumble” in a brutal 38-33 loss in 1987.
While the Browns never got to the big game, their early history is loaded with championships and impressive playoff success. In all, Cleveland has won eight NFL titles and has reached the playoffs 11 times since the league merger.
Here’s a look at all of their accomplishments over the years.
- Super Bowl Appearances: 0
- Super Bowl Championships: 0
- AAFC Championships: 1949, 1948, 1947, 1946
- NFL Championships: 1964, 1955, 1954, 1950
- NFL American Conference Championships: 1952, 1951, 1950
- NFL East Conference Championships: 1969, 1968, 1965, 1964, 1957, 1955, 1954, 1953
- AFC Central Division Championships: 1989, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1980, 1971
- NFL Century Division Championships: 1969, 1968, 1967
- AAFC Western Division Championships: 1948, 1947, 1946
- Playoff Appearances: 2002, 1994, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1982, 1980, 1972, 1971, 1969, 1968, 1967, 1965, 1964, 1958, 1957, 1955, 1954, 1953, 1952, 1951, 1950, 1949, 1948, 1947, 1946 (1946-49 AAFC)
Home Stadium – FirstEnergy Stadium
- Inaugurated: 1999
- Capacity: 67,895
- Grass or Turf: Grass
The Browns have a long history in the Cleveland area but have only resided at two home fields. Cleveland Stadium was the site of all Cleveland Browns home games for 50 years from 1946-1995.
Cleveland Browns Stadium opened in 1999 and has since been renamed as FirstEnergy Stadium. The venue was unveiled after the Browns’ hiatus of 1996-98.
FirstEnergy Stadium has a natural grass field with an underground heating system to prevent it from freezing. It’s located in the North Coast Harbor area in Downtown Cleveland, taking over the site of the original Cleveland Stadium.
FirstEnergy is used for other events like soccer and concerts but has yet to host any NFL postseason action.
- Stadium Address: FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland, OH 44114
- Mailing Address: Cleveland Browns, 76 Lou Groza Blvd., Berea, OH 44017
- Phone: 440-891-5000
Cleveland Browns Head Coaches
You can’t talk about the Cleveland Browns without mentioning the franchise’s co-founder and first head coach, Paul Brown.
Not only does Brown hold the franchise record for longevity with 214 games coached, but he recorded the most wins, coached the most playoff games, and ended his 17-year tenure with the best record (.767). Brown coached the team to their ten consecutive league championship games during the first ten years of play from 1946 through 1955.
In 1957, the UPI named Coach Brown the NFL Coach of the Year. In 1949, 1951, and 1953, Brown received the same honor each year from the Sporting News.
Other coaching award recipients include Forrest Gregg (1975-77), the 1976 Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, and Sam Rutigliano (1978-84) earned back to back Coach of the Year nods from the UPI. From 1985 through 1987, the Browns were three-time AFC Central Division Champions under Marty Schottenheimer, who was named ‘86’s UPI NFL Coach of the Year.
Cleveland Browns’ Last Five Seasons
Cleveland Browns’ All-Time Career Leaders
|Passing Yards||Brian Sipe||23,713||1974-83|
|Passing Touchdowns||Otto Graham||174||1946-55|
|Rushing Yards||Jim Brown||12,312||1957-65|
|Rushing Touchdowns||Jim Brown||106||1957-65|
|Receiving Yards||Ozzie Newsome||7,980||1978-90|
|Receiving Touchdowns||Gary Collins||70||1962-71|
|Tackles||Clay Matthews Jr.||1,430||1978-93|
|Sacks||Clay Matthews Jr.||62||1978-93|
Recent history hasn’t been overly kind to the Browns franchise, but this is still a proud organization with numerous iconic figures.
Some stand out statistically as seen above, some left their mark in other ways, and some, well, did both. Regardless, here’s a quick look at some of the top Browns stars to ever roam the gridiron.
Jim Brown played for the Browns 60 years ago but is still considered to be one of the best all-time NFL players. There’s certainly no question he’s the greatest player the Browns ever had. Brown was named the greatest professional football player in 2002 by The Sporting News, after all.
The former Syracuse Orangemen player was a unanimous All-American and was selected by the Browns in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft. The fullback has a long list of player honors during his 13-year NFL career. He was named Rookie of the Year by the NFL in 1957, and the AP’s NFL MVP in 1957, ‘58, and ‘65. Brown was on the Pro Bowl team for nine years in a row and was an eight-time First-Team All-Pro for eight years.
Brown was the NFL rushing touchdowns leader five times and rushing yard leader eight times. He has 12,312 career rushing yards and 106 rushing touchdowns. Brown is still the Browns’ franchise rushing leader, and his number 32 has since been retired by the organization.
Otto Graham was the first Cleveland Browns inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He started with the Browns when they were in the AAFC and remained through the 1955 season in the NFL. The quarterback led the Browns to league championships for ten years in a row from 1946 through 1955. He was offered an AAFC contract in 1945 but didn’t attend training camp until ’46 after his Navy discharge.
Graham was named the AAFC’s MVP for 1947 and 1948. In the NFL, he took the MVP honors in 1951, ’53, and ’55. Otto was also the NFL’s leader in passing touchdowns in 1952 and passing yards in ’52 and ’53. He was also a two-time passer rating leader, five-time Pro Bowler, and had three NFL championships and four AAFCs. After he retired as a player, he went on to coach in the Coast Guard and for the Washington Redskins.
Otto Graham made the 1950’s NFL All-Decade Team and 75th Anniversary Team. The Browns retired his number 14 jersey.
The former general manager of the Baltimore Ravens was a career Cleveland Browns tight end, drafted out of the University of Alabama as the 23rd pick in 1978. Newsome was the Browns’ Offensive Player of the Year in 1978 during his rookie season. He was named to three Pro Bowls and twice was a First-Team All-Pro.
In 1984, his 191 receiving yards in a game set a franchise record that stayed put for 29 years. He retired from playing in 1990 and moved into the front office of the Browns and then the Ravens. Ozzie was inducted into the 1999 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, retiring with 662 career receptions and 47 receiving TDs.
Clay Matthews Jr.
Linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. is number 17 for most NFL appearances in the league’s history. He was drafted by the Browns in the first round in 1978 out of the University of Southern California and spent 16 years with the Browns and three with the Falcons before retiring in 1996.
Matthews holds the record for having the third-most tackles in NFL history with 1,561. He was named to four Pro Bowls and second-team All-Pro in 1984. Matthews’ career stats include 1,595 tackles and 16 interceptions. His son, Clay Matthews III, is a linebacker with the Los Angeles Rams.
In September of 2017, offensive tackle Joe Thomas played his 10,000 consecutive snap in the NFL, making him the first NFL player to never miss a single play. An injury in October ended his streak at 10,363 just before Thomas announced his retirement in 2018.
Thomas was an All-American at the University of Wisconsin. He was the third overall pick in 2007 and spent his entire career in Cleveland. Brown earned Pro Bowl honors for ten successive seasons and was named First-Team All-Pro for seven.
In 2014, Joe was named the 18th-best player in NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2014 and made the list for the following two seasons as well, at 23 and 25.
Cleveland Browns Trivia
The Browns are the only NFL team without a logo on their helmets.
Cleveland has endured trying times under center. The franchise has had 57 starting quarterbacks, 30 different starters since 1999, and 17 straight seasons with more than one quarterback taking snaps.
The Browns are among only a handful of teams to have the #1 pick in the draft more than twice. They’re one of two (Buccaneers) to do so two years in a row on two different occasions.
Cleveland legend Jim Brown retired in 1965 at age 29 with the career rushing yardage record (12,312) and rushing touchdown record (106) intact. He still ranks 11th in career rushing yardage and 5th in career rushing touchdowns despite playing just nine seasons. Every running back ahead of him in both categories has played at least 10 or more.
Cleveland is one of 12 teams to never win a Super Bowl. They’re also one of just four teams to never even play in one.
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